Fragile X syndrome is also known as Martin-Bell syndrome or Marker X syndrome. This condition is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation and is present at birth, with a family history usually present in relatives. The common symptoms of this condition include delayed milestones, impairment in speech and language, low IQ, poor eye contact, hand biting or hand flapping behaviour, aggression, attention deficit, convulsions, musculoskeletal abnormalities, feeding difficulties, growth retardation, depression, and anxiety. While life expectancy for this condition is near normal, the management of this condition requires handling by a multi-speciality team of physicians, along with family counseling and genetic counseling
Ayurvedic herbal treatment for fragile X syndrome is aimed at treating the different symptoms of mental retardation. Herbal medicines which have a specific action on the brain and strengthen the nervous system as well as improve neurotransmission between nerve cells are especially useful in the management and treatment of this condition. These medicines need to be given in high doses and for prolonged periods, and gradually bring about a remission in the symptoms and improve behaviour and neuromuscular coordination, as well as psychological symptoms.
While treatment is mainly in the form of oral medication which needs to be given for prolonged periods, it can be supplemented with localised therapy which is mainly aimed at the scalp. Ayurvedic Panchkarma treatments like Shiro Basti and Shirodhara help to bring about an early and significant improvement in symptoms of mental retardation, as well as reducing aggression, sleeplessness, depression and anxiety. Shiro Basti is a treatment modality in which medicated oils are kept in contact with the scalp for a fixed time period, while Shirodhara is a procedure involving a steady drip of medicated oils on the scalp. These treatments can be given on a daily basis or at steady intervals of a few days or weeks.
Most individuals affected with fragile x syndrome require Ayurvedic herbal treatment for about 12 to 24 months, in order to bring about a significant improvement in individuals affected with this condition. Ayurvedic herbal treatment thus has a significant role to play in the management and treatment of fragile X syndrome.
The writer, Dr. A. A. Mundewadi, is available as an online Ayurvedic Consultant at www.ayurvedaphysician.com